Epidemiological update: Malaria in Greece, November, 2011Archived
According to the available epidemiological and entomological information, and the arriving winter season, the intensity of malaria transmission in Evrotas, Lakonia in Greece is very low. For this reason, chemoprophylaxis for malaria is not recommended for visitors to the area. The use of standard mosquito biting prevention measures continues to be encouraged.
The Greek Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) has posted an update on their website regarding the outbreak of Plasmodium vivax that has been reported in Greece.
Between 21 May and 15 November, 2011, 63 cases of Plasmodium vivax infection have been reported in Greece. Thirty-three of these cases were Greek citizens without travel history to an endemic country. Twenty seven cases are reported from the area of Evrotas, a 20 km2 river delta area, located in the district of Lakonia in Pelloponese, southern Greece (see map). The remaining six cases are from the municipalities of Attiki (n=2), Evoia (n=2), Viotia (n=1) and Larissa (n=1). In addition, 30 cases of P. vivax infection in migrant workers have been reported from the area of Evrotas, including two new cases since the last update on 28 October.
Of the 30 malaria cases identified in migrant workers in Evrotas, Lakonia, the majority (n=23) originated from malaria endemic countries even though a clear importation status could not be determined; 21 originated from Pakistan and two from Afghanistan. For the remaining seven migrant workers cases, five were from Romania (two were diagnosed in Romania), one from Morocco, and one from Poland. It should be noted that all reported cases in migrant workers (including the two cases diagnosed in Romania) are in persons that work in the agricultural areas in this part of Greece.
The last reported case in a Greek citizen was on 18 October. The last reported case in a migrant worker, occurred during week 44 (31 October-6 November) in a man from Pakistan who arrived in Greece recently.
ECDC considers that its risk assessment dated October 11, 2011, remains valid. ECDC considers the current risk for malaria infection in Greece to be limited to persons residing and/or working in the affected areas of Greece, particularly that of Evrotas, Lakonia. This is a geographically delimited area, having a small population and is not a touristic destination. According to the available epidemiological and entomological information, and the arriving winter season, the intensity of malaria transmission in Evrotas, Lakonia is very low. For this reason, chemoprophylaxis for malaria is not recommended for visitors to the area. The use of standard mosquito biting prevention measures continues to be encouraged.
Map: Municipality of residence of Plasmodium vivax malaria cases, Greece, as of 15 November, 2011 (n=63)
Rapid risk assessment: Update on autochthonous Plasmodium vivax malaria in Greece
11 Oct 2011 - The ECDC risk, as assessed on 23 August 2011, remains unchanged. The main risk is to persons residing in, visiting and working in the affected areas of Greece, particularly Evrotas in Lakonia. The risk for further extension of malaria transmission into the EU as a result of this event is considered low at present. EU national blood competent authorities should be considering whether to implement deferral measures for persons returning from these specific affected areas in Greece, taking into consideration measures currently implemented by the Greek blood safety authorities and after a considered risk assessment in collaboration with their national public health authorities.